The last issue of Rebels was mired in how hard it was for Seth to accomplish the task of transporting cannons to Boston. This almost insurmountable task pales in comparison to how hard Seth will have to work to win back Mercy. The best scenes in Rebels have been the tumultuous relationship between the two lovers. Seth’s return from the war leads the two to discuss how frayed their relationship has become. To add to the complicated matters Seth meets John, his six-year-old son. John is a capable and conscientious young boy who never has to be asked twice to do the work around the home and land. A fine juxtaposition to Seth who says he had to be beaten and roughhoused to accomplish any chores. This shakes Seth to his core because all of John’s ability and personality has grown from a single-parent home. At the end of the issue Seth is proud because his land, liberated land, is in good hands. Of course, it’ll be extremely interesting to see this new relationship blossom or wither.
Most of Rebels #5 deals with how Seth’s determination is what gets him to accomplish his mission, however lofty it is. Tasked with taking extremely heavy and bulky cannon down to Boston from New York, Seth is dead set it’ll take longer than two weeks. The mission seems to set Seth up for failure, for some unexplained reason, but Seth accomplishes this duty. The issue juxtaposes the cannon transportation mission with Seth’s journey to save his father’s life as a boy. Brian Wood does a good job of showing how Seth was taught to finish his undertakings no matter how long they take. While dragging his father’s body across a frozen land, Seth uses his grit and determination, instilled by his father, to drag him all the way home.
Duty before honor seems to be the theme of this issue of Rebels. Seth and company are away taking care of business, or Red Coats, and Seth has no second thoughts about being with Mercy. He’s so driven in his resolve to follow through on his orders he’s not willing to leave for a day to see her. It’s understandable that a man like Seth would want to impress General George Washington, but the foreshadowing that his personal life will crumble is hard to watch.
Seth Abbott finds himself in the middle of a game of tug of war. On one side there’s his sense of adventure and his extreme patriotism, on the other side there’s his marriage to Mercy. Seth can’t stay in the middle and expect both war and love to coexist peacefully. This triangle is at the center of Rebels #3. Most of this issue is dedicated to juxtaposing a story of Seth having to literally pull his father home in a frozen wilderness and scenes of Mercy’s droll and lonesome life. It was easy to see in the first two issues that Seth would be hard pressed to continue to be a patriot and a devoted husband, now we find out he’s to be a father as well.
Rebels is starting to gain some traction and we see it especially in the relationship between Seth and Mercy. While Seth is away Mercy must make sure all the chores are done and the house doesn’t burn. She feels like the adult and Seth is the child who gets to run away from responsibility and run around with his friends. On the other side of the coin, though, Seth is trying to help with the revolution.
History is often bombarded with grand events being the only thing that is of worth. Many times it’s more enjoyable to look at the nuances in these grand events to directly learn about our history. This central theme is seen throughout Brian Wood’s new book Rebels. Wood takes us into 18th century America and the American Revolutionary War. The storyline follows a man named Seth Abbott and a band of militiamen who are challenging the British force in the colonies. This small-scale look at the life of a few militiamen is a great read.